One of the most important aspect of our life is to convey our message to others and learn their response. Communication is an integral part of our personal and professional lives. The way we communicate to others defines their response. We want to be fully understood and therefore what we say has to be defined to the listeners (Langan, 2013). I mean that we might use sentences or terms that may or may not make a complete sense to the listeners and it could greatly impact the quality of their feedback. So to be understood clearly we have to be persuasive in our communication processes. In this paper, I would focus on defining what actually persuasive means and would then argue about how we can be persuasive with practical examples.
What is Persuasion?
We communicate to individuals or groups. We want them to listen to us and believe in what we are communicating to them. In other words we want to persuade them. Persuasion is the process of trying to convince other to bring changes to their attitude in line with what we are suggesting (Kruglanski, Webster, & Klem, 1993).
In my opinion most of the communication that we involve in is to persuade others or respond to others who are trying to persuade us. For example when we go to a supermarket with our kids, what are our kids doing when they see a toy that they like and want us to buy it for them. They may try to persuade us by starting to argue that they have not bought a toy since a certain amount of time and purchasing a toy is due. This argument could well persuade our purchasing decision and in other word help the manufacturer of the toy. But how did the kid got persuaded? It is possible that the manufacturer of the toy is running an advertisement campaign for the toy on the TV and the kid saw it there. What is advertisement we may ask? It is all about persuasion to impact our purchasing decision. In other words, the advertisers are trying to change our behavior according to what they want us to do, buy their product.
Persuasion can sometimes be easy while it can be hard on other occasions. For example if you are a manager and offering bonus for a certain performance, it would be easy to get the employees work efficiently as they would be expecting something in return. They would have a positive return in return for the positive change in their attitude towards work. While on the other hand persuasion can be hard if there is no return in the sight. For example you are asking to improve performance and at the same time you are putting a cut into the allowances the employees get due to the financial crisis of the company. It would be hard to persuade the employees. In fact it could adversely affect the performance of the employees.
Question can be asked about what is to be considered a good persuasion and what is bad persuasion? In the coming section I would like to write about how to be a good persuader and avoid being bad at persuasion.
Persuasion is not only the product of effective verbal or non-verbal communication. You must know when to communicate with others. The timing of the communication is really important. If you reach out to others when they are relaxed and are open to change, you would be effective in persuading them and get the desired results. Using words like “thank you” make people obliged and more involved. They feel recognized. Therefore, this magic world should be often used.
It is human nature to feel secure around people who are more like them. Therefore you must find the parallels between yourself and others, most probably the customers. This is how you can find the common ground and come to their level and communicate and persuade better. For example id a customer comes to a sports shop to buy a football. If you are yourself a football enthusiast, you should engage in communication related to football and the recent happenings. This is how the customers will be able to identify himself to you. You could then influence the purchasing decision of the customer easily.
There are many occasions that could let you be less persuasive, either due to the lacke of your own persuasion or due to other factors. For example a study suggested that in hospital setups, nurses might be less persuasive due to language barriers, cultural barriers or making someone less than (Robinson, Gorman, Slimmer & Yudkowsky, 2010). You have to be rally careful when you are communicating to someone who does not fully understand your language. You might be trying to persuade but it could well negative effect. Also trying to convince others by depicting them to be lesser than you in any regards is a really bad persuasion tactic. It should be avoided at any cost. Speaking quickly is also not going to help persuade. Speak clearly and with due pauses. When you are trying to persuade, your arguments should be based on facts and principles and not on what you personally believe. If something is your personal opinion, you must mention it during your communication.
I would like to conclude my essay by stressing the importance of persuasion and not over persuasion. Persuasion should have its limits. When you know you are not persuading with certain arguments, you should stop using these arguments and come up with different perspectives. Though sometimes you should simply let go.
Kruglanski, A. W., Webster, D. M., & Klem, A. (1993). Motivated resistance and openness to persuasion in the presence or absence of prior information. Journal of personality and social psychology, 65(5), 861.
Langan, J. (2013). College Writing Skills with Readings, 9th Edition. New York, NY: McGraw- Hill, Inc.
Robinson, F. P., Gorman, G., Slimmer, L. W., & Yudkowsky, R. (2010, July). Perceptions of effective and ineffective nurse–physician communication in hospitals. In Nursing forum (Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 206-216). Blackwell Publishing Inc.